Red Cross hopes to visit Syria prisoners 'soon'

DAMASCUS, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - Red Cross delegates hope to visit soon thousands of Syrians jailed since the start of pro-democracy protests in mid-March, a spokesman for the ICRC said on Sunday.

"During his visit to Damascus June 21 and 22, ICRC chief Jakob Kellenberger made such a request," Saleh Dabbakeh, spokesman of the International Committee for the Red Cross, told AFP in the Syrian capital.

"There have been discussions with the authorities and we are confident that we will be able to start the visits very soon," he added without elaborating.

Rights groups say that more than 10,000 people are behind bars in Syria, which has been gripped by almost daily anti-regime protests since mid-March.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in the crackdown against protesters, activists and UN figures show.

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